Max Saunders
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A. S. Byatt’s fiction is much possessed by ‘lives’ – not only the lives of her characters, but the ideas of the biographies of those characters, and of characters as biographers. The essay will explore the relation between fiction, biography and autobiography in her work, taking in such topics as portraiture, myth, creation and reading. It will ask why a novelist who has written about earlier historical periods has eschewed one of the defining devices of the historical novel – and postmodern biofiction – of using real historical figures as characters.

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